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Blog Archives

Rangers should use the second half to audition Ryan Graves

Bobby Bevilacqua

ryan-graves-wolf-pack

Photo courtesy of Chris Rutsch/Hartford Wolf Pack.

It’s no secret that for a large portion of the season, the defense has been the biggest issue for the Rangers. Sure, it’s been better over the last week or two, but the defensive deficiencies and inability to make three balanced pairings has been the biggest source of problems so far.

To recap: Dan Girardi hasn’t been much better than last season, Kevin Klein has been far worse than last season, and the other players haven’t been spectacular either. Ryan McDonagh has done his best to carry this team, but has had some bad games and is often dragged down when partnered with Girardi and Klein. Holden has been a steadying force, Staal is okay and Skjei has had an encouraging rookie season with the expected rookie mistakes and growing pains.

Regardless of what you think about the defensive corps, which also includes Adam Clendening, the bottom line is that they haven’t been able to get the job done on a consistent basis and have cost the Rangers more games than they’ve won. With Marc Staal out, the Rangers have been able to test out Clendening and while we’ve seen some good things from him, he’s not the solution to their problems. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers aim to push winning streak to three against the Kings; Lundqvist back in net

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-kings

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

After an overtime win on the road against Detroit, the Rangers (30-16-1) are back at home to take on the Los Angeles Kings (22-20-4), closing out a back-to-back series and aiming for their third straight win.

The Rangers picked up their league-leading 17th road win of the season with a 1-0 overtime win against the Red Wings, with JT Miller scoring the only goal of the game. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season, marking his 20th win of the year and making him the first goalie in NHL history to start his career with 12 straight 20 win seasons.

The Kings have not fared as well lately, and this season, dealing with some injuries, a struggling offense and inconsistencies. They’ve lost their last three games and are three points out of a playoff spot. This is the second game of a five game road trip, and they play nine of their next 10 games on the road. Read the rest of this entry

My Thoughts and the Rangers’ outlook after a catastrophic loss to the Dallas Stars

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-stars-1-17

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

1. There is nothing positive that should be taken from this game. This cannot be viewed as a look at the Rangers’ resiliency or battling through adversity and nearly completing a comeback. There should be no positive light shed on this game, and it needs to be treated as it was – a disaster.

The Rangers were manhandled by the Stars for 40 minutes, and they looked absolutely lost on the ice. They were outshot 27-15 and surrendered seven goals. Henrik Lundqvist was not at his best but there were consistent defensive issues from the defensemen and the forwards, which did not help at all. The Rangers woke up for the third period and the Stars went into a defensive shell, which explains the 25-4 shot advantage from New York in those 20 minutes. Winning one period but looking pathetic for the other two does not warrant any praise. Treating this game as anything other than a failure would be to ignore the many, many problems that this team has.

2. To emphasize, this team has many, many problems. There needs to be a change, or many changes, but not at forward. It’s not a coincidence that the scoring has gone up with the return of Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. This is the best, most complete forward group that the Rangers have had in quite some time and it’s a group of forwards that could win a Stanley Cup. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers battle NHL best Columbus before the bye-week; Updates on Nash, Buchnevich, Zibanejad

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-blue-jackets-11-18

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (27-13-1) played one of their most complete games of the year on Wednesday, a 5-2 win over the Flyers, but now they face a tall task when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets (27-6-4) on the road, their last game before the league-mandated “bye-week.”

These two teams have become real rivals over the last few years, with each game featuring a bit of nastiness and an edge that each skater is playing with. Now that Columbus has the most points in the league and sit atop the Metropolitan Division, these games have even more meaning.

The Rangers got two goals from Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner, as well as one from Chris Kreider, in a win over the Flyers in their last game. Henrik Lundqvist was fantastic, making 30 saves, and the Rangers defense also looked good as Vigneault switched up the pairings with Marc Staal out. Read the rest of this entry

Halfway there: Evaluating the Rangers at the midpoint of the season

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-goal-celebration-11-3

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

We’re officially halfway through the Rangers season, and it’s been a pretty good start despite some injuries, rough stretches and a lot of new players for Alain Vigneault to figure out and utilize properly.

With a 27-13-1 record along with practically same defensive unit as last season, the Rangers have probably exceeded most people’s expectations. Their 55 points are tied with the Penguins for second in the division, as well as being tied for the second most points in the entire league (Pittsburgh has played three fewer games). The Blue Jackets sit in first in the division and the league thanks to their incredible 16 game win streak that stretched from late November into January.

Given the situation with all of the forward injuries, the first half of the season has been a big success. There have been some issues and rough patches, like with just about every team, but it’s hard not to come away with more positives than negatives. Read the rest of this entry